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2019 SA Car of the Year: Here's what you need to know about the 5 new top car categories

2018-12-13 11:09

Image: Wheels24

For the first time in the 34-year history of the contest, categories have been introduced in the 2019 AutoTrader South African Car of the Year competition.

A neck-and-neck battle is predicted in four of these five categories. 

WATCH: 2019 SA Car of the Year finalists - which top car gets your vote?

The Premium category lists only one finalist, the Lexus ES – but this does not mean that the Lexus will automatically win this category.

The Nissan Micra and Suzuki Swift will do battle in the Urban Compact category.  The Honda Civic Type R and Mercedes-Benz A-Class will go head-to-head in the Medium Family category.

The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Suzuki Jimny are the two contenders in the Lifestyle Utility category.

In keeping with the popularity and global growth of the sports utility vehicle (SUV) and crossover market, the Leisure SUV and Crossover category is the most highly contested, with a whopping five finalists battling it out for top honours. They are the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Hyundai Kona, Porsche Cayenne, Renault Duster and Volvo XC40. 

The next step of the 2019 AutoTrader South African Car of the Year journey is the actual testing of the finalists, which takes place in March next year. 

The winners of the categories and the overall winner will be announced at a gala event in April 2019.

Full list of finalists by category:

Urban Compact - Small hatch and sedan

 • Nissan Micra

 • Suzuki Swift

Medium Family Hatchback/Medium Sedan and MPV

 • Honda Civic Type R

 • Mercedes-Benz A-Class


Premium Executive and premium sedans

 • Lexus ES

Leisure SUVs and Crossovers

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

 Hyundai Kona

 • Porsche Cayenne

Porsche Cayenne

 • Volvo XC40


Lifestyle Utility Bakkies, 4x4s and bakkie-derived sports utility vehicles

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport


Suzuki Jimny 

George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO, believes that the introduction of categories will enhance the competition immeasurably. 

"These categories will be of great interest to members of the public. If someone intends buying an urban compact vehicle, for instance, a win by either the Nissan Micra or Suzuki Swift will certainly influence his or her choice of vehicle," he explains.

The vehicle manufacturers will be keen to take top honours – in both the categories and the overall competition. 

Mienie said: "A victory at the AutoTrader South African Car of the Year competition is the ultimate accolade for any vehicle manufacturer – because this is the country’s most prestigious automotive contest." 


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